Deal with the Dragon

It’s a familiar scene to many a Fringe-goer: a black-box stage, a chair and an actor with his story. But what an electric, even dizzying story Deal With the Dragon turns out to be. The basic synopsis (trust me, you’ll need it) is that a frustrated artist, Hunter, in San Francisco is struggling to meet his deadline for a career-making exhibition. Fortunately his gay, German friend Brenn is on hand to help, with the only minute problem being that Brenn is also a fire-breathing dragon to whom Hunter sold his soul as a child. Throw in Gandy’s story, Hunter’s artistic rival with a whole host of sub-stories and characters to encounter from his experiences in rehab and you’re in for a rollercoaster ride of a show.

The somewhat sprawling narrative bears some similarity to a set of Russian dolls, adding to this disorientating feeling

All the way from the USA, Kevin Rolston’s one-man performance for First Sprout Theatre is unforgettable for his sheer energy and ability to evoke distinctive, engaging and utterly unique characters – he’s a true powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately the speed with which he switches characters means that we spend a bit too much time playing catch up rather than being able to fully immerse ourselves in the story and simply enjoy it. Additionally the somewhat sprawling narrative bears some similarity to a set of Russian dolls, adding to this disorientating feeling.

Nevertheless Deal With the Dragon is still not one to miss, it’s the kind of madcap show that could only really exist at the Fringe and despite the number of hilarious though unnecessary digressions it still remains a joyous hour and ten minutes. Yes, there are a few issues, but when you’re confronted with an oh-so-fabulous and witty, gay dragon do you think anyone will really care? Given Rolston’s natural charm and unmissable energy I’m willing to bet you’ll love it.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

What if you never had to deal with anything in your life you didn’t want to? But instead had a suave and sassy gay German dragon to deal with it for you? Sound enchanting? There’s some paperwork you’ll need to sign… and… we’ll need a little of your blood. ‘Infused with razor blades soaked with honey’ (San Francisco Weekly). ‘Rolston is the bad-seed love child of Robin Williams and Marlene Dietrich’ (Meredith McDonough, Humana Festival of New American Plays). Best of the San Francisco Fringe.

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